Signposted with their own signs, and with a ‘welcome charter’, here are three Wine Routes in different parts of Aquitaine…
In the Dordogne, Bergerac, the capital of the aptly-named Purple Périgord, is the starting point for four itineraries of between 80 and 150 kilometres. They include around a hundred châteaux which have signed the charter and will show you the different appellations in the area, as well as the local heritage.
In the Gironde, the “Vineyards and Wineries of Bordeaux” group together 496 establishments – estates, trading houses and cooperative wineries – which adhere to a charter ensuring an ever-improving quality of welcome.
In Béarn, the Jurançon Wine Route near Pau is a circuit of a few dozen kilometres winding through along the hillsides of the Pyrenean foothills where the Manseng* is king.
The vines planted in amphitheatre style – terraced on natural cirques– and the wooden beams of Monein Church are two sights to behold during this visit.
Aside from the official routes, the Maisons des Vins, Tourist Offices and winegrowing syndicates publish maps and propose circuits to discover their wine areas.
On foot, on horseback, or even on a quad, the wine areas of Aquitaine can be visited in all seasons.
For an itinerary lasting several days, there are also turnkey holidays on offer. As well as the delights of wine, they often include golf, thalassotherapy, or cookery lessons.
If you would rather find your own way around, the “Bacchus” gîtes and chambres d’hôtes accredited by Gîtes de France or by Clévacances offer total immersion in the wine world.
Aquitaine is THE wine destination par excellence. Forteen wine areas in the region - Bergerac, Bordeaux, Buzet-en-Albret, Chalosse-Tursan, Duras, Entre-deux-Mers, Grave-Sauternais, Haute-Gironde, Irouléguy, Jurançon, Madiran, Marmandais, Médoc et Pays du Libournais - are currently working to build on this asset in order to professionalize wine tourism.
* Gros and Petit Manseng are the main grape varieties making up Jurançon (70 and 25%)